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The Hinge of Fate 75 Years Ago

In the spring of 1943, Allied forces completed the process of driving the Axis powers out of Africa. “That’s one continent redeemed,” Churchill observed. In May, the prime minister travelled to Washington for the third time during the war to meet with President Roosevelt. Following the “Trident” conference, Churchill travelled with US Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall and the Chief of the Imperial General Staff Sir Alan Brooke to meet with General Eisenhower in Algiers and settle upon the details for the invasion of Sicily.

After his meetings in North Africa, Churchill reflected in his memoirs upon where the war stood in June 1943:

The entry of the United States into the war after the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor had made it certain that the cause of freedom would not be cast away. But between survival and victory there are many stages. Over two years of intense and bloody fighting lay before us all.

Henceforward, however, the danger was not Destruction, but Stalemate. The Americans’ armies had to mature and their vast construction of shipping to become effective before the full power of the Great Republic could be hurled into the struggle. But further successes lay right before us, and the Fall, or rather Liberation, of Italy was near.

Hitler had still to pay the full penalty of his fatal error in trying to conquer Russia by invasion. He had still to squander the immense remaining strength of Germany in many theatres not vital to the main result. Soon the German nation was to be alone in Europe, surrounded by an infuriated world in arms.

The leaders of Japan were already conscious that their onslaught had passed its zenith. Together soon Great Britain and the United States would have the mastery of the oceans and the air.

The hinge had turned.

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